With a carnival theme, participants and guests to the Iberville Parish Relay For Life can expect many of its booths to have games or rides of some sort, said organizer Ragan White.
The parish’s biggest fundraiser for the American Cancer Society will be held on Saturday, Apr. 7, at the COPAC Field from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The opening ceremony will be at 5 p.m. and the luminary ceremony is set for 8:45 p.m.
One of the biggest attractions of Relay For Life – like at any south Louisiana fair or festival – is the food. Offerings at the event will include fried fish, jambalaya, pulled pork sliders, hot wings, fries and corn dogs.
The event will also include a car show, a children’s train, face painting, a bounce house, children’s games, raffles and a dunking booth. Fire Chief Darren Ramirez said he, Chief of Police Kenny Payne and Mayor Ed Reeves Jr. raised the most funds at last year’s dunking booth and issued a challenge to the parish’s other elected officials to top their numbers.
All of the monies collected will go to cancer research via the American Cancer Society. Outright donations will be accepted and most booths will offer T-shirts. White said luminaria honoring a cancer victim or survivor will also be available – in white, $10, purple, $15 and gold bags are $20.
A less expensive contribution option is available at any local bank, donating $1 to have your name put on what the chairman called “moons and stars,” the familiar paper figures that after purchase are placed somewhere prominently in the bank in which they were bought.
“Everyone in Iberville Parish has been touched in some way or another by cancer,” White said. “Either they are a survivor, the friend or family member of a victim of the deadly disease or is currently battling it. Relay For Life is a way to contribute to the fight to cure cancer.”
No one seems to be able to pinpoint the year Iberville Parish began holding a Relay For Life, but White said she’s certain it’s been going for over 20 years. “I’ve been involved with it that long, either as a team member or team captain and this year will be my first as its chairman.”
White said there are 13 teams participating – the most active are usually the City of Plaquemine, Plaquemine Bank and Axill Wesley Company. She said there’s no way to predict how many people will participate in one way or another, but she hopes for over 300.
This year, she’s reached out to all the schools in the parish to get them to choose a 30-minute time slot to walk the track. The first lap of the Relay For Life walk is usually cancer survivors and after that, anyone can join in.
“Participation in the walk has ben pretty slack in recent years so I’m trying to increase that,” White said, explaining the invitation to the parish’s students. “We’re trying to pack the track so we’d like to see every school in the parish take part.”
Setting a theme and the additional push for participants for the walk are the only changes in this year’s Relay For Life, White continued. “My contact at the Baton Rouge office of the American Cancer Society changed not long ago, so there wasn’t enough time to make a lot of changes.”
“I knew I couldn’t make any big changes or try to get any new major sponsors so I thought increasing the participation in the walk was the biggest difference I could make with such short notice,” she said.
“Bank Night will be Apr. 4 to allow teams to turn in their money, so they’re not holding on to all that money,” White said. “Of course, they’re still going to be able to turn in money from the relay itself the week after the event.”
For more information, contact Ragan White at (225) 776-4054, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, like the event on Facebook – Iberville Parish Relay For Life – or visit its website, Ibervilleparishrelayforlife.com.